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The first ever operas were written around 1600 by Baroque composers including Monteverdi and Cavalieri, and the genre quickly took off. Early operas used dramatic text and music to express their stories, which were often based on Classical Greek and Roman mythology.
After Orfeo, Monteverdi wrote another opera the following year, 'Arianna'. He then took a break from the genre for almost 20 years, writing his next operatic work, 'Licori finta pazza', in 1627 – but this was never staged and the music is now lost.
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